Man gets 40 years in shooting death

Herbert Smalls pleaded guilty to the murder of James Stewart.

A man who shot and killed another man over a bicycle in 2007 has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Herbert Smalls, 30, pleaded guilty to murder Tuesday minutes before jury selection was to begin in his trial in the shooting death of 45-year-old James Stewart on April 25, 2007.

Circuit Judge Roger Young sentenced Smalls to 40 years in prison. He is not eligible for parole or early release, according to the 9th Circuit Solicitor's Office.

Assistant Solicitor Greg Voigt said Stewart and a woman approached Smalls and co-defendant Marcus Quarles on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston about buying Stewart's bicycle.

Smalls and Stewart went behind a building to negotiate the sale, and Smalls shot Stewart once in the chest at close range, Voigt said. Security cameras at a nearby school showed him riding away on the bike, he said.

Police found the bicycle but had no other leads until Smalls and Quarles were arrested in Charleston in another case. Voigt said the gun used in that crime matched the characteristics of the weapon used to shoot Stewart.

Smalls has prior convictions for attempted armed robbery and assault and battery with intent to kill. He and Quarles met while he was serving time in prison for those crimes.

Quarles is scheduled to be tried in September, the solicitor's office said.